United States District Court, E.D. Texas, Sherman Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
L. MAZZANT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is Plaintiff's Notice of Judicial Conflicts of
Interest and Motion for Mandatory Recusal and Affidavit of
Tanya Morrow Regarding Manifest Judicial Conflicts of
Interest (“Motion to Recuse”) (Dkt. #68). Having
considered the relevant pleadings, the Court finds
Plaintiff's Motion to Recuse (Dkt. #68) should be denied.
Plaintiff filed the instant Motion to
Recuse on December 1, 2017, seeking to recuse the undersigned
under 28 U.S.C. § 455 (see Dkt. #68).
Construing the Motion to Recuse liberally, pro se
Plaintiff alleges, as the basis for recusal, that the
undersigned “criminally perpetrat[ed], aid[ed] and
abet[ted] the very same routine patterns, practices and
patterns of the same wholly unconstitutional actions
complained of and constitutionally challenged within this
case, as a former state judge of the State of Texas”
(Dkt. #68-1 at pp. 1-2). Aside from this statement, the
remainder of Plaintiff's Motion to Recuse merely makes
allegations against the broader legal community involved in
child custody proceedings (of which she includes the
undersigned) and its various ethical shortcomings in the
context of child custody proceedings, including:
“knowingly defrauding away the fundamental
constitutional rights and interests of approximately one-half
of all such natural parents” (Dkt. 68 at p. 5),
“criminally conspiring in that creation of yet another
wholly false, utterly fictitious and fraudulent state court
[custody] ‘order'” (Dkt. #68 at p. 5),
“knowingly and willingly and routinely allow the same
said attorneys to ‘drum up' their business and
thereby-falsified billable hours by unconstitutionally
engaging in any and all endless manners of frivolously
irrelevant issues” (Dkt. #68 at p. 7), getting
“their own ‘cut of the pie' of all such Title
IV-D monies collected routinely from … falsely-created
‘noncustodial' parents” (Dkt. #68 at p. 8),
and violating multiple state and federal criminal laws (Dkt.
#68 at pp. 9-13).
§ 455, Plaintiff, as the party moving to recuse, bears
“a heavy burden of proof” in showing the Court
should recuse. E.g., United States v.
Reggie, No. 13-111-SDD-SCR, 2014 WL 1664256, at *2 (M.D.
La. Apr. 25, 2014). The statute provides that “[a]ny
justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United States
shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his
impartiality might reasonably be questioned.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 455. The decision whether to recuse under § 455
is committed to the sound discretion of the Court asked to
recuse. See, e.g., Garcia v. City of
Laredo, 702 F.3d 788, 793-94 (5th Cir. 2012);
Sensley v. Albritton, 385 F.3d 591, 598 (5th Cir.
2004) (quoting Chitimacha Tribe v. Harry L. Laws
Co., 690 F.2d 1157, 1166 (5th Cir. 1982)).
United States Supreme Court has made clear “[t]he
recusal inquiry must be made from the perspective of a
reasonable observer who is informed of all the
surrounding facts and circumstances.” Cheney
v. U.S. Dist. Court for Dist. of Columbia, 541 U.S. 913,
924 (2004) (emphases added); see also United States v.
Morrison, 833 F.3d 491, 506 (5th Cir. 2016), cert.
denied, 137 S.Ct. 1098 (2017). The Fifth Circuit has
interpreted this mandate to mean that “[courts] ask how
things appear to the well-informed, thoughtful and objective
observer, rather than the hypersensitive, cynical, and
suspicious person, ” while remaining “mindful
that an observer of our judicial system is less likely to
credit judges' impartiality than the judiciary”
would be. United States v. Jordan, 49 F.3d 152,
156-57 (5th Cir. 1995). Further, the recusal inquiry is
“extremely fact intensive and fact bound” and
requires “a close recitation of the factual basis for
the . . . recusal motion” by the movant. Republic
of Panama v. Am. Tobacco Co., Inc., 217 F.3d 343, 346
(5th Cir. 2000). A court's own analysis must likewise
“be guided, not by comparison to similar situations
addressed by prior jurisprudence, but rather by an
independent examination of the facts and circumstances of the
particular claim.” Id.; see also United
States v. Bremers, 195 F.3d 221, 226-27 (5th Cir. 1999)
(finding that a “similar situation” presented in
another case calling for the same district judge's
recusal merited independent consideration). Fortuitous timing
of a recusal motion-immediately following an unfavorable
ruling, for example-warrants closer consideration of the
movant's intent in seeking recusal. See United States
v. Vadner, 160 F.3d 263, 264 (5th Cir. 1998) (“The
most egregious delay-the closest thing to per se
untimeliness-occurs when a party already knows the facts
purportedly showing an appearance of impropriety but waits
until after an adverse decision has been made by the judge
before raising the issue of recusal.”).
instant case, and as noted supra, Plaintiff asserts
recusal is appropriate because the undersigned is a former
“justice on the Court of Appeals for the Fifth District
of Texas at Dallas” (Dkt. #68-1 at p. 1).
Plaintiff's Motion fails to detail any specific instances
or actions meriting recusal of the undersigned other than the
undersigned's general status as a former state appellate
judge; instead her Motion consists of broad, sweeping
accusations concerning the entire legal community practicing
family law. Furthermore, none of Plaintiff's accusations
are supported by any authority or fact (that involves any
specific involvement of the undersigned).
construed, the entirety of Plaintiff's unfounded
accusations relate to the undersigned's potential rulings
as a state appellate judge. Such actions cannot form the
basis of a motion to recuse in the instant case. Beemer
v. Holder, No. CV B-08-449, 2011 WL 13180172, at *4
(S.D. Tex. Aug. 19, 2011) (finding pro se
plaintiff's allegations that the presiding judge's
determinations in other cases formed a basis for the
judge's recusal in the pending case “[ran] afoul of
the settled rule that ‘inferences drawn from prior
judicial determinations are insufficient grounds for
recusal'”). “[T]rial rulings have a
judicial expression rather than a judicial
source” such that “judicial rulings
alone almost never constitute a valid basis for a bias or
partiality motion.” Liteky v. United States,
510 U.S. 540, 545, 555 (1994) (emphasis in original) (citing
United States v. Grinnell, 384 U.S. 563, 583
(1966)). A judge's rulings instead “are proper
grounds for appeal, not for recusal.” Id. at
555. Moreover, “opinions formed by the judge on the
basis of facts introduced or events occurring in the course
of the current proceedings, or of prior proceedings, do not
constitute a basis for a bias or partiality motion unless
they display a deep-seated favoritism or antagonism that
would make fair judgment impossible.” Id.
(noting also that this applies to opinions manifested as
“judicial remarks”). The Court finds no basis for
recusal in this matter.
therefore ORDERED that Plaintiffs Notice of
Judicial Conflicts of Interest and Motion for Mandatory
Recusal and Affidavit of Tanya Morrow Regarding Manifest
Judicial Conflicts of Interest (Dkt. #68) is hereby
IS SO ORDERED.
 Plaintiff Tanya Morrow declares that
she asserts this Motion on behalf of herself and her two
minor children, JRM III and JMLM. Because she is not entitled
to move for relief on behalf of her children, the Court
refers to Plaintiff as Tanya Morrow, only. See, e.g.,
Sprague v. Dep't of Family & Protective Servs.,
547 F. App'x 507, 508 (5th Cir. 2013) (affirming